Michael Behe in the Quarterly Review of Biology

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When the table of contents for the December, 2010 issue of Quarterly Review of Biology appeared in my e-mail box, I noticed a paper by Michael Behe, Experimental evolution, loss-of-function mutations, and "the first rule of adaptive evolution". If the name "Michael Behe" rings a bell, it's probably because he's a proponent of intelligent design creationism who happens to be on the faculty at Lehigh University.1 It's unusual to see a paper written by Behe in a major biological. I've been meaning to sit down, read it, and offer a few thoughts about it. I still plan to read it, but instead of offering my own thoughts about it, let me quote a small part of Jerry Coyne's take on it:

While Behe's study is useful in summarizing how adaptive evolution has operated over the short term in bacteria and viruses in the lab, it's far less useful in summarizing how evolution has happened over the longer term in bacteria or viruses in nature--or in eukaryotes in nature.  In this sense it says nothing about whether new genes and gene functions have been important in the evolution of life.
If you want a more complete analysis, head over to Jerry's site and read the whole review.

1His department has a link to the following statement on intelligent design on its web page:

The faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences is committed to the highest standards of scientific integrity and academic function. This commitment carries with it unwavering support for academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. It also demands the utmost respect for the scientific method, integrity in the conduct of research, and recognition that the validity of any scientific model comes only as a result of rational hypothesis testing, sound experimentation, and findings that can be replicated by others.

The department faculty, then, are unequivocal in their support of evolutionary theory, which has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been supported by findings accumulated over 140 years. The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of "intelligent design." While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.